Things may get very, very interesting in the Lone Star state in the next year and a half:
There is a strong indication Thursday that state's top lawyer has set his sights upon the Texas Governor's Mansion.
A source who has spoken with Republican donors says Attorney General Greg Abbott is saying he'll run for governor next year, challenging Rick Perry. With the 83rd Texas Legislative Session underway this week, Gov. Perry says he's focused on state business not re-election.
However, a Republican source who knows of fundraising activity at this level told News 8 that, ahead of that December deadline, Abbott told big donors eager to back him in a run for governor that he would.
When asked for a reaction Thursday by KVUE-TV in Austin, Perry recalled the last prominent Republican to challenge him in a primary.
"Sen. Hutchison also announced that she was going to run for governor back in 2009 so everybody gets the freedom to do that," Perry said of the just retired senator he easily beat in 2010. "I'm real focused, which I hope the General is, too, on this legislative session."
A couple of things surprise me here:
1. Abbott is running regardless of what Perry does. He is very likely trying to scare Perry into retirement, as he already has an $11 million cash on hand advantage, and Abbott is nearly as popular, if not more popular, than Perry with big donors, especially after Perry's perceived waste of their money with his Presidential campaign. Look for Abbott to attempt to grow that lead while Perry is unable to fundraise until June 17.
2. Perry doesn't sound like he's backing down, citing Hutchison. The only problem for him is Abbott will not be easily painted as a creature of the establishment and DC like Hutchison was and, again, he may have even greater popularity than Perry with the grassroots that sunk Hutchison's campaign.
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